THE THAW in trade restrictions with China has taken another step forward with export approval granted for a new Australian beef establishment.

Meanwhile the fishing industry is anticipating lobster restrictions being lifted.

Barley, beef, cotton and wine restrictions on agricultural products have already been scrapped by China, along with bans on timber, coal and copper.

Now, a new Australian beef establishment has been approved for export to China for the first time since 2017, thanks to what Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt, described as ongoing technical discussions between the two countries.

He said the development was another important step in stabilising the relationship between Australia and China.

Chinese restrictions had affected around $20 billion in annual trade since the bans were imposed in 2020 following a diplomatic argument over trade, security and the origins of COVID-19.

“I welcome the news that Australian Meat Group (AMG) Dandenong has been approved for beef exports to China,” Minister Watt said.

“This expanded market access for AMG will mean more jobs for Australians in the meat industry. They already process around 1500 head of cattle every day at Dandenong and employ over 1000 people across their Dandenong and Cootamundra establishments.

“While AMG export to a number of other countries, China is a valued market for our exporters. More importantly, it’s the first new establishment listed for red meat exports since 2017.”

In 2022–23, Australia exported $2.3 billion of beef and veal to China, which accounted for 21% of Australia’s total beef and veal export value.

“The China market has long been an important destination for Australian beef and veal,” Minister Watt said.

“The only Chinese suspensions on Australian agricultural commodities are two meat processing establishments and live rock lobster exports.”

Minister Watt said efforts to stabilised the relationship with China were paying dividends for Australian farmers and processors and the government would continue to advocate for all agricultural trade to be restored.